WEST SEATTLE Poor air quality and pollution concerns have prompted a burn ban in eight Washington state counties.

The Puget Sound Air Quality Agency issued a Stage 2 burn ban in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties. Under the ban, no wood burning indoors or outdoors is allowed, including bonfires at beaches. No wood-burning allowed in any fireplaces, stoves or fireplace inserts unless it's a homeowner's only source of heat, and absolutely no fires allowed outdoors or in pellet stoves.

Seattle Parks and Recreation has signs posted at beaches reminding people of the ban.

AStage 1 ban is in effect for Kittitas, Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties. Use of uncertified wood-burning devices - including fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts - is prohibited unless they are a home's only adequate source of heat. All outdoor burning - including residential, agricultural and forest burning - is prohibited. Use of certified wood-burning devices and pellet stoves is allowed.

Air pollution levels are unhealthy for sensitive groups. The Washington State Health Department recommends that people sensitive to poor air quality limit time outdoors, especially when exercising.

Violators could face fines up to $1,000.

Air quality could remain poor in the region for much of the rest of January, as KING 5's weather team notes that a large ridge of high pressure will remain off the coast for the next week to ten days. High air pressure tends to trap air on the west side of the Cascades, allowing particulate pollution to build in the region's atmosphere.

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